I love tea rusks. My family in India used to dip them in tea, but I just liked snacking on them. Turns out they're not really vegan, nor are they as healthy as they seem! So when I found myself with a french baguette that turned rock solid, I went looking for answers.
Step 1: Rehydrate the bread. If you have any really dry, hard-as-rock bread, you can bring it back to life. I used to spend time trying to microwave it into softness, but try the oven instead for good results. If you're softening bread to make rusks see below to save heating time and energy:
Run water over the bread (or pour water so that all sides are covered). Place in oven and bake at 250-300 degrees F for 5 minutes. Check for softness. If still hard, cover with water again and bake an additional 3 minutes. Cut into desired size slices immediately.
To soften slices further, sprinkle them with water and bake again a few minutes. Store with fruit peels or a slice of bread to keep them soft.
Step 2: Now that the bread is in beautiful rusk-size slices, it can be ruskified! I like the recipe below because it'svegan, simple, uses bread you already have, and is endlessly modifiable into your own personal rusk creation (chili-lemon rusk anyone?) Recipe adapted from Show Me the Curry.
Vegan Tea Rusk
french baguette, buns, or stale bread
earth balance or other vegan buttery spread
raw sugar or maple syrup
Preheat oven to 275F. (use part of the preheating time to rehydrate your bread, see above).
Cut bread into desired size pieces.
Spread a thin layer of earth balance on one side of each slice. Sprinkle with a light coating of sugar or syrup.
Arrange on two trays (or one) and bake for 30 minutes. Swap trays top to bottom. Bake another 30 minutes, until well done and dry.
Remove and cool, then store in an air tight container. Use them for dipping in your tea (or coffee)!
Variations: sprinkle with cinnamon sugar or other spices. Long slices with a dash of almond extract make a vegan biscotti!